So, as I mentioned very briefly in my last post, we’ve had a change of itinerary. We had originally planned to go to Myanmar, as it has recently opened up to tourists and would be fascinating. However, since we made our plan, there has been an up rise in conflict between Buddhists and Muslims in the country. While Alex and I do not fall into either category we felt that, all things considered (including the staggering amount of bureaucracy in order to get into the country and further visas needed to travel internally), it was looking too dangerous for us to go there.
Instead, we are going to go to Laos, which we had originally overlooked due to conflicting opinions. However, it looks like it will be lovely out there and I am, personally, really looking forward to it! Alex will be turning 30 out there so I am busily planning surprises for him and have found that the people are pretty helpful and friendly! I keep teasing Alex with hints about what I am planning for his birthday….which slightly backfired when I was told by my contact in Laos that one surprise I was planning was “too dangerous” at the time of year we will be there.
So, for a girl who finds changes of plans unnerving, I think I am handling this all perfectly well. I am thinking (and hoping) this year away will make me a much braver person…and it appears to be working already! 🙂
Speaking of being brave, as the number of weeks until we depart gets rapidly smaller every time I look at a calendar, I have begun to get nervous about not seeing my family for almost a year. I know it might seem a bit wimpy to your Average Joe, but I spend at least one evening a week with my family and generally speak to one or all of them every day…we’re a very close family and we all have really good relationships! I am very lucky with my family. So the idea of not having that support structure so close by is a nerve racking one. I am trying very hard not to be too weepy about the idea of not seeing them…but I know I will cry my eyes out when it comes to saying goodbye!
Luckily for me, however, I will be able to see them on a number of occasions! 🙂 Mum and Dad will be coming out to Malaysia for a week or so which will be absolutely lovely, Gustus is planning on coming to LA and we’ll do a trip up to Vegas together and the whole gang are coming out to Florida (as well as Alex’s family!) for Disney and my 27th birthday! So it’ll only be a matter of months between seeing them, rather than a full year! How do you eat an elephant? Bit by bit.
We’ve also had a great response from friends who say they are keen to come out and visit us; which is really lovely! I have a little Google doc (of course!) which tracks who is coming out and where and when, so hopefully it’ll be easy for people to work out if they can come see us! Most of the visits appear to be scheduled for times when Alex is back on the boat which is lovely for me as I get the best of both worlds: travelling around the globe with my gorgeous boyfriend and, when I am on my own, seeing a plethora of friends from back home! I will never be lonely!
In terms of when Alex is back on the boat, I have a few plans. I will generally be staying in one place, rather than being more nomadic so that I can meet lots of people. However, if the people I am hanging out with decide they want to do a week trip somewhere, what’s to say I won’t go with them? (see?! MUCH braver than normal!)
For the first shift I will do on my own, I have organised a 2 week stint volunteering at a dog shelter in Chiang Mai! I found http://www.carefordogs.org/ online and they have been really helpful (pointing me in the direction of reduced rate accommodation) and enthusiastic about my joining the team! I am really looking forward to getting stuck in!
So, currently, that brings you up to speed! The next few weeks will be a combination of packing, saying goodbye and preparing for the trip….I am sure I’ll have more to report soon!